""Ranger Bill, Warrior of the Woodland, struggling against extreme odds, traveling dangerous trails, fighting the many enemies of nature. This is the job of the guardian of the forest, Ranger Bill. Pouring rain, freezing cold, blistering heat, snows, floods, bears, rattlesnakes, mountain lions. Yes, all this in exchange for the satisfaction and pride of a job well done." That was the opening of Ranger Bill, a Christian radio adventure serial produced under the auspices of the Moody Broadcasting Network and the Moody Bible Institute. There were 206 episodes of Ranger Bill, which ran from 1950 to 1954 in a 15-minute format on WMBI in Chicago, and in syndication as a 30-minute show from 1954 to 1962.
The series followed the adventures of Park Ranger Bill Jefferson. Miron Canaday starred as Bill, the chief forest ranger in the small Rocky Mountain town of Knotty Pine, where the former US Marine lived with his mother. Ranger Bill was your standard radio hero, a paragon of fitness and virtue who could resolve nearly any situation. Ranger Bill and his friends were faced with many situations to solve over the years, from the mundane, like finding lost kids or investigating the problems racing boats were causing on the lake, to the fantastic, including several elephant attacks, spacemen apparently coming from a meteor and trying to find a lost treasure in the Amazon, all the while stressing positive Christian values for young people.
Friends that figured prominently in Bill's adventures included Stumpy Jenkins, an eagle-eyed ranger known for his marksmanship and often called "the Old Timer"; Henry Scott, Bill's teenage ward, was learning the ways of the woods by helping out Bill in the park, along with young ranger Ralph Carpenter; and Gray Wolf, a ranger and a member of the Dakota tribe. Gray Wolf spoke in the typical broken English for the era and genre, but knew how to use the traditional ways of his people and modern forest management methods to help Bill protect the woods. The first episode introduced Bill's boss, Colonel Anders, who sent Bill and Henry to blow up the Pine Ridge Dam in order to stop a forest fire threatening the Pendleton Valley.
The program is still broadcast on the Children's Sonshine Network and on His Kids Radio, both on regional radio stations and internet simulcasts, along with several other similarly Christian-themed programs.
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